Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Sunken Gardens of St. Petersburg

It's a hot sunny day and we're right in the middle of all the snowbird traffic as they work their way into south central Florida and drive all of us EARLY snowbirds crazy, so it's time for a little escape from reality.
How do you do that, you drive to St Petersburg and find the Sunken Gardens, since we're members of the UM Botanical Gardens our cost is… freebee.

Sunken Gardens started out over a hundred years ago when a plumber named George Turner Sr. decided that he wanted his own botanical garden, so he bought a six-acre sinkhole that had a small lake in the middle and started working on it. He drained the lake and started planting a wide variety of plants, after a few years he opened a small nursery and started to sell some of the plants and fruits. When so many people wanted to walk through the garden he started charging a small fee. The garden continued to grow and during the 1930's it became one of the top roadside tourist attractions in Florida, showing people what the tropic Florida was really like.

By 1999 the garden had been neglected, over grown and run down when the City of St Petersburg purchased it and started to restore it to Mr. Turner's original idea of a tropical garden.

Once you enter the garden the sun disappears as you walk through tunnels formed by the heavy canopy of tropical growth, follow the trail and you will soon be walking through a bamboo forest, crossing steams on little arched bridges, spotting tropical birds and cascading waterfalls. Continue on viewing some of the 50,000 different varieties of plants, back to the butterfly garden and house were you can rest up and maybe have a butterfly or two join you on your shoulder, finish up at the cactus garden before you head back out into the real world of noise, traffic and confusion

If you didn't know better and just drove by this place you would think that it was just another restaurant on the main drag of St. Pete and not a place to wander and relax for an hour or two, right in the middle of a busy city.

1 comment:

Margie and Roger said...

Just read your post about the Sunken Gardens. I remember going there as a kid back in the 50's or 60's. Didn't know it had gotten run down, but glad to know it has been restored. Hope to get over there to see it again either this winter or next winter.